AWD Won't Save You from Winter Weather, Consumer Reports Says

AWD Won't Protect You From Winter Weather, Consumer Reports Says 1 photo
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The fact that there's no sun when we wake up to go to work tells us that convertible season is over. But does that mean SUVs are the new kings of the road? According to Consumer Reports, all-wheel drive systems don't guarantee that you are protected from winter's wrath.
This video sounds like a "well, duh!" moment, but you still need to see it. What the dozens of tests carried out in Connecticut prove is that winter tires are a far more useful feature.

The most interesting test pits a Honda CR-V, the most popular compact crossover in America, against the Toyota Camry. Unless you live in Japan, the Camry doesn't come with AWD. Yet when fitted with winter tires, it can brake more than twice as fast as the CR-V equipped with all-season tires.

The CR-V is heavy and its AWD system doesn't help with braking, but when equipped with the right winter tires, it closes the gap with the Camry to just 16 feet (4.8 meters).

Having all four wheels pulling will help when going up a snow-covered hill or getting yourself unstuck. But it's still a case of some animals being more equal than others. For example, we remember that Swedish magazine Teknikens Värld tested a 2015 model year Honda CR-V and found the all-wheel drive system would not engage.

The car let the front axle handle 100% of the work and didn't send any power to the back. At the time, Honda said this was the result of a software problem. A built-in function tried to limit mechanical wear on the drivetrain by not engaging the AWD system. Permanent 4WD is the only true solution, but it hurts fuel consumption.

Demand for SUVs has never been higher than it is in 2015. Millions of people around the world buy them because they feel safer and more solid than regular vehicles. However, a lot of them are nothing more than glorified minivans, and it still pays to be prepared. Sand, a shovel and snow chains are your best friends in winter!

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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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